You no longer have to take it from me that people don’t want to be pitched by Pages they have ‘liked’ when they scroll their Facebook News Feeds.

Mark Zuckerberg has now stepped in and has thrown down the “spam gauntlet.”

In a vow to better protect his users from (unpaid) promotional noise, Facebook has announced that starting Jan. 2015, they will start hiding status updates that are really promotional posts.

The message is clear; if you want to promote something — pay for it.

Facebook says this stems from users complaining more about posts from Pages they have ‘liked,’ than the actual ads they see. And it makes sense. When you see an ad — your tolerance level is higher for it — as the expectations are met.


But when it’s a status update that feels like an ad, that’s when you’ve chipped away at the trust you were given by your audience.

Some of the common traits that Facebook lists that make status updates feel like spam:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.

Facebook also offers visual examples of what they are talking about, such as this:

The crack down should come as no surprise. In just the past year alone, Facebook has talked about not wanting to be seen as a free distribution platform for your promotions.

Dec. 2013:

The company releases the document, “Generating Business Results on Facebook.”

Facebook writes that Posts are getting way too promotional so organic (free) reach will decrease. And in order to “maximize delivery of your message in News Feed, your brand should consider using paid distribution.

June 2014:

Facebook once again talks about declining organic (free) reach:

“Competition in the News Feed is increasing, becoming harder for any story to gain exposure.

Like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform, Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid media to help meet their goals.”

Nov. 2014:

Mark Zuckerberg holds first public live Q&A from Facebook Headquarters.

Zuckerberg talked about how they control content flow:

“For each person on Facebook, there’s an average of 1,500 different stories a day that they could see in their News Feed.” So to ensure that users are always seeing the “highest quality content,” they only see about 100 to 300 of those 1,500 potential posts.

He was quick to point out that brands don’t always have to pay to be one of the few status updates your fans actually see — you just have to be great.

And he’s right; content that moves people will find an audience whether you pay to reach them or not.

But that gets lost on a lot of people. They would rather blame Facebook for declining reach than their own content and behavior.

Social is a way of thinking, it’s not a trick.

It’s not about gaming fans to interact with us.

It’s not about what we want to say, (or our prize wheels).

It’s about what the fans want to hear; coming at content from their point of view, and personalizing acknowledgement.

It’s about proving our worth in their News Feeds.

For just one example of what that looks like, Nike Football posted this recently.

And the message resonated, deeply.

This is what liquid content looks like — stories people crave; that hit them emotionally.

It’s a skill we need to work at every day.

Just because Facebook is free (for now) does not equate to being easy.

And there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. No matter how great you are, you can’t coach yourself.

It’s time to focus on being more effective with Facebook – that means stop treating it like a free promotional platform, or an afterthought and start bringing our A games.

By Lori Lewis

(original article)